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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Perfecting Holiness In The Fear Of God

This Sunday evening I am beginning a series entitled, "Perfecting Holiness In The Fear Of God". It will be a series on personal separation. And it will be thoroughly addressed. I am blessed to have the privledge to Pastor a church where the people have a genuine desire to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God. This series of messages is to encourage them in their commitment. As I have time I may post the content of these messages here for those who have an interest in reading. I have no desire to debate the issue. Please go somewhere else to do that. What I post here will be for those who may be interested in a different point of view or for those who are likeminded.

The following is my introduction for the Sunday evening message.

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 - Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

I believe my new definition for separation is going to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” I think this statement sums up the nature of separation. Separation is the effect of perfecting holiness. As we perfect holiness we undoubtedly become more separated. This whole process takes place in the context of fearing God. It is my desire to perfect holiness because I fear God. It is not my desire to perfect holiness so I can strut about reflecting on how much better I am than others.

I think separation is an important issue for the very reason that many people do not see it as being an important issue. Consequently they do not see it as something that is worth making an issue. But the surprise is that it is an issue. Most never come to realize it and the downward spiral continues. Regrettably, those that do come to realize it, it is often too late. The die has been cast. It cannot be altered without breaking down, plowing up, and casting aside. This is difficult work and most do not have the stomach for it. I don’t know if I would have the stomach for it. I think it is far easier just to stand vigilant guard over the “old paths”. Do not surrender them.

Of course to determine to stand against the tide is not an easy thing either. It is a sad thing when one is ridiculed today for what was commonly believed yesterday. Today we are being seduced by the siren song of change. To oppose change is to be charged, tried, and condemned as a religious zealot who has a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is going to take to reach the present world. Well, I would agree that someone misunderstands!

We are told the culture has changed, and in deed it has. My question is has it gotten better?

We are told the society has changed, and in deed it has. My question is has it gotten better?

We are told that the times have changed, and in deed it has. My question is has it gotten better?

We are told that the world has changed, and in deed it has. My question is has it gotten better?

We are told that the church needs to change, and in deed it is. My question, is it getting better?

There seems to be something inherently wrong with a church that seeks to mirror the world in which it ministers.

We are told it is a good thing to alter the content of our music.

We are told it is a good thing to not make an issue out of dress for it is the heart that matters.

We are told it is a good thing for people to be liberated from the restrictions of a puritan age.

People thrive with the liberty to go to the movie house, rent their R rated movies, go swimming with most of their clothing removed, and women to be allowed to dress like men.

Well some of us do not think this is good.

Yes many things have changed, but God has not.

Malachi 3:6 - For I am the LORD, I change not; . . .
Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Yes many things have changed but that does not mean it is good.

Jeremiah 6:16 - Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Proverbs 24:21 - My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?

I fully realize that to make any attempt to stay the tide is to be either shouted down or privately pitied. It is to open one’s self to charges of legalism. We all, if we are not careful, run the risk of being controlled by the spirit of a legalist. Perfecting holiness in the fear of God is not legalism. Perfecting holiness in the fear of God should be sought after in the spirit of grace and joy.

Unfortunately, if one dares to stand against the current popular thought and actually has the audacity to believe they are correct about the issue then they are accused of forcing their beliefs on others. They are accused of focusing on the outside and not the heart. They are accused of being divisive. They are accused of being Pharisaical. All of this because they venture to express their views as they understand them from the Scripture. You are entitled to your views but keep them to yourself tends to be the mindset.

As the torrents of ungodliness rush past us there is the tendency to have the ground under us give way little by little. When our foundation has been sufficiently undermined then we will find ourselves carried away in a flood of apostasy and worldliness, all the while singing the praises of change.

Psalms 11:3 - If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

It is high time we turned our backs on Vanity Fair and set our eyes once again on the Celestial City!
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